Posted by: fullandbye | August 25, 2005

justice

Yesternight, in Liz’s car, in front of my house.
We sat and discussed the complexities of step-families.

Then a cop car pulled over an old white caddy right in front of us.

“This is a racial stop” I said.

I might have been right.

Within two minutes another cruiser pulled up. The quiet light of the midnight street shattered by the cacophony of dueling beacons.
Two people emerged. One a plainclothes cop wearing a bulletproof vest and a cop-belt over hisjeans and t-shirt, the other was in uniform.

These three caucasians then pulled the African American from his car and patted him down. They handcuffed him and put him in the back of the second cruiser. Then they put gloves on and rooted through his vehicle.

As they prepared to leave, the undercover guy knocked on Liz’s window and held up a small bag that had in it what appeared to be a chunk of quartz about the size of a shooter marble. But it was not a mineral. It was crack.

As they pulled away, I could not help but wonder what awaits the man who was arrested. What conditions led to the events of this evening? What charges will be brought against him? What of his family, his posessions, his life?

I grow more libertarian. The police did not seem mean spirited. I am not even sure if they were racist. It is possible that the decision to check the vehicle was inspired by more than the man’s complexion. I still wonder if during this whole endeavor (a good half-hour or so) the police could have been better occupied.

Is posession of crack fundamentally criminal? I am not convinced it is. The incidental justice of penalizing drug users is so ridiculous when compared to the much greater systemic social injustice of a nation which can afford so much for its citizens, but invests so little in them.

As this perpetrator was arrested and led away. The victims of a much more pervasive and invisible crime walked the streets, with neither beds nor homes to go to.

Sigh.

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Responses

  1. perhaps it’s my lack of police-oriented history of seattle, and perhaps it’s my lack of willingness to pin a bias on someone without knowing, but i still think it’s presumptuous to say that you were right in calling the pull over a racial thing.
    granted the guy pulled over was of race, and granted the chances are high… but i might also point out that the man pulled the car over extreeeemly slow. possibly a cause of the pullover. when he got out of the car, he did look drugged up. the first police on the scene did not seem to call for back-up until after he looked the guy’s license over. and the man was in possession of a presumably large chunk of crack.
    granted, i found the cop to be in poor taste in showing us what they had found (also a complete waste, as my reaction was specifically “huh? what is that?”). saving some dignity of the hand-cuffed seemed to be in order.
    i’m not sure. things like this are tricky. yes, drug use doesn’t seem to be the best thing to target when homelessness and poverty and disease are so widely offending, but then again, i don’t follow up on drug-related crime statistics and drug-related abuse and the like. it’s entirely possible to be a greater problem than we’d suspect.
    i’ve no clue how to draw a conclusion to the whole situation. it’s just too hard to make a finite assumption and to know what a situation is based purely on observation.

  2. you are right.

  3. however. I agree with the assertion that the possession of crack should not be a crime. it’s what you do when you’re on the crack.
    prohibiting anything just wastes everyone’s time, I think. you spend so much time/money in prosecution that actually building a better world for everyone falls by the wayside.
    I’m starting even to think that about guns… I’m not sure what my solution to our clear overuse of guns around here would be… but yeah. I’m with you on the whole libertarianism bit, I’d probably call it for myself an anarchist leaning, but the difference there on the issue of crack prohibition is essentially nil.

  4. My jury is still out on guns.
    We should talk.
    Also, it sounds like you are moving in!
    I am SO EXCITED!!!

  5. I certainly hope that I am moving in, because I’ve managed to kind of piss off my friend that I recently told we couldn’t live together after all. I shall call tomorrow. Everything sounds good to me so as long as no one has any objections to me being a Swanker (and I haven’t heard any), I am SO EXCITED TOO!

  6. Michelle and I both approve.
    Chris is in dustville. He should be back in a week or so.
    But I am pretty sure Chris has no objections.
    (This is not just conjecture. I think this because of a recent conversation I had with Chris that went like this:
    “Chris. What if Erica were to move in?”
    “Erica? Fuck Yeah!”
    In short, we like you. Move in move in move in.


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